Katherine Gonzalez, a 24-year-old teacher at Atlas Preparatory Academy in Milwaukee, was charged with first degree sexual assault of a child, or sexual contact with a person under the age of 13, this past Sunday. While details of the incident are being kept quiet to protect the identity of the 11-year-old victim, locals are horrified by the incident.
Detectives say the teacher and student had been messaging over Snapchat. "I'm in love with a kid, and I hate that I can't tell anyone," read one message. Gonzalez and the child reportedly kissed in her car; the victim was forced to touch her clothed "private part." The assault continued back at the home of Gonzales. The two had "kissed on the mouth" multiple times before that.
Gonzales eventually told police that she was unhappy in her (adult) relationship and expected her boyfriend to propose, according to FOX6 Now. She claimed that she wanted to do things that would "make the victim happy" because she thought he was depressed.
"I couldn't believe it," said a mother of four whose children attend the school. "You don't want to think that your kids go to a school where stuff like that is happening. You want to think you can trust the teachers that are around your students, no matter who they are, what age they are ... It's very unfortunate for the student who was involved."
Gonzalez appeared in court this past weekend. Her bail was set at $15,000 and she has been banned from contacting the victim and all social media usage.
The school sent out the following letter to address the situation:
"The Milwaukee Police Department sent officers to the Kansas Campus on Wednesday, March 1st to investigate a report alleging inappropriate conduct between an Atlas teacher and a student outside of school grounds. School officials are fully cooperating with the Milwaukee Police Department in this ongoing investigation. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
We want to assure you that we continue to take all the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our students. We are deeply dismayed by this allegation and will continue to work with our students to support them as they cope with this disturbing news. Counseling will be made available to students, staff, and families."
FOX6 News notes that Gonzales was supposed to lead a "Family Night" at the school on March 3rd, but the event was cancelled.